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Kevin Buck: The American people embrace checks and balances

Posted: January 15, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 15, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Republicans from all across the party’s entire political spectrum, Goldwater conservative to really, really tea party conservatives, must still be wondering what the heck happened last November.

President Obama handily dispatched the last Republican presidential wannabe standing, Mitt Romney, and in doing so became the first president since Eisenhower to win 51 percent of the popular vote in two consecutive elections.

The 2012 presidential election was not even close enough for tin foil hat voter fraud conspiracy theories to get any kind of traction.

Not that that is stopping Republican lawmakers from continuing their drive to disenfranchise as many voters as they can before the 2016 national election. There are still elections to be won, and if you can’t attract a majority with your policies, diminishing the other side’s voting base is at least doing something.

Democratic candidates have now won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential races. It will be another uphill struggle for the GOP candidate in 2016, which is good news for Hillary.

Over on Capitol Hill, conventional political wisdom predicted that Republicans would pick up enough Senate seats in both the 2010 and the 2012 elections to regain the Senate majority.

However, the far right nominated candidates so far out of the mainstream of political discourse that even red states like Montana, North Dakota and Missouri elected Democrats to the Senate, rather than elevate the ultra-conservative candidates who ousted mainstream conservative Republicans.

Thanks to the tea party candidates’ primary victories and Election Day losses, against all odds, Harry Reid remains the Senate majority leader.

And while 2014 is predicted to be yet another opportunity for Republicans to win back the Senate, but no chickens are being counted until we see if the Republican primary voters have a learning curve.

The political future is not entirely bleak for the Republican Party. It still has a majority in the House, and thanks to creative gerrymandering after the 2010 census, most of those seats are safe.

The downside of the House majority is that is comes exclusively from the 11 states of the old Confederacy, where Republicans have built a 57-seat advantage.

Democrats hold the majority of House seats in the other 39 states. This has essentially split the Republican Party into two camps: those who want to win elections and govern again, and those who want to drown the government in a bathtub.

So far the nihilists are winning the battle and the economy, women, workers, the poor, John Boehner and the nation as a whole suffer as a consequence.

The American people embrace checks and balances. Democrats overreached after the fall of Nixon and did not rebound until Bill Clinton, a centrist Southern governor, defeated Poppy Bush in 1992.

In 1994 Republicans regained congressional majorities on Capitol Hill. An assist from the Supreme Court in 2000 gave the Republican majorities in the House and Senate the gift of a George Dubya Bush presidency.

Together, their disastrous policies sent the electorate careening back to the left, giving America its first woman Speaker of the House and a Kenyan, socialist, fascist, secret Muslim president.

To be fair, President Obama cleverly hides behind a center left political façade of compromise and pro business, pro American policies, hence the two convincing landslide electoral victories.

The next big ideological battle will be the coming vote on raising the debt ceiling so that the United States can pay for the programs already authorized by the Congress.

Contrary to what we hear from the right, the vote is about paying off old bills, not incurring future debt. The full faith and credit of the United States is at stake, along with the fragile recovery of national and worldwide economies, not that that makes a whit of difference to those who would hold the economy hostage to score political points.

Thanks to the Confederate States of America, far right conservatives are now a majority of the Republican majority. But nothing is forever in American politics.

History shows us that the American people self-correct mistakes in government; it’s the genius of the Founding Fathers still at work today.

And in a bit of delicious irony, it will be the country’s first black president of the United States leading the political charge to defeat the South once again.

Kevin Buck is a Santa Clarita resident. "Democratic Voices" runs Tuesday and rotates among several SCV Democrats.


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